Here's another one of those reliable winery names that when all else is unfamiliar, you can pick and be pretty sure that you and your guests will be pleasantly happy. Maybe even pleasantly surprised, as we were.
After all, few of us expect to go to a gathering and get 95-rated wines costing $60 (except maybe in a restaurant on the $60 score).
But this wine made us go back to the store receipts to make sure that we had indeed spent less than $10. In fact the BV (Beaulieu Vineyards) 2007 Coastal Estates Chardonnay was $9.
Others have commented on its "hints" of toasty vanilla oak. We thought the vanilla was much more than a hint, and in a very good way. The lingering smoky vanilla taste gave the wine a creaminess and fullness that you don't often find in a $10 Chardonnay from California.
This also has nice taste notes of citrus, fruit and apple. It would work with pasta, chicken, seafood, fish, anything grilled.
This is BV's down-market wine, for which they blend grapes from throughout wine country rather than selling it as being a premium wine from one vineyard only. But it's proud of its name, so even this value label is a good wine for everyday, or for large gatherings.